A couple weeks ago I attended to a baby shower and we were asked to write an inscription in a favorite childhood book instead of giving a card with our gift. With so many books to choose from, this request had me really thinking about what my favorite book was. There are the more common choices like The Giving Tree, Blueberries for Sal, and the Amelia Bedelia Series, but I think one of my favorite books growing up was “Something from Nothing.” The story starts out with a grandfather giving his grandson a blanket when he’s born. As he grows up and the blanket gets ragged worn, he brings the cloth to his grandfather to fix and his grandfather creatively turns it into something new. There’s something nostalgic about the relationship between Joseph and his grandfather, and the concept of not just throwing something out in turn for something new.
The other night I arrived home hungry and with no plan for dinner, or anything in the fridge that really needed to be cooked. At first I was a little stressed out about what I would make, and debated dragging myself to the store to pick up some fresh vegetables. Having recently brought up the memory of my favorite childhood book, I had the thought in my mind of making a dinner from “nothing,” and it turned out delicious! Sitting down to dinner I realized there really wasn’t a reason to make an extra trip to the grocery store, and I would have never put together this combination if I had more things in the fridge to choose from.
I’ve been trying to keep certain foods in my fridge and freezer for these kinds of nights, ones that can keep for a little longer without spoiling. The foods in this dish are all things I typically have on hand and use often. I’ve found uncooked tofu can usually keep for two weeks, and onions, carrots, and cabbage rarely go bad before I can eat them. Cauliflower rice is one of my favorite go-to’s in a pinch. Trader Joe’s carries it in the frozen section so whenever I shop there I try to stock up. If using fresh cauliflower, you can make your own rice using a box grater or food processor. The Kitchn has a great tutorial on how to do this.
I used to eat tofu more often but had taken a break. Having not cooked it in a while, I’ve been experimenting with different dressings and ways of preparing it. At first, I had assumed you would marinate it like you would chicken or fish, letting the dressing seep in. I realized though, I was pressing the tofu to get out the extra liquid, and then just putting more back in! I’ve found there is plenty of flavor by just quickly tossing it in the dressing. To press the tofu, I use cooling rack in my sink covered with paper towel. I cut the tofu into fourths, lengthwise, and place on top of the paper towel. I then put another piece of paper towel on top of the tofu and cover with my baking sheet. Here’s where things get creative- for weight, I tend to grab whatever I have lying around that looks heavy. I let the tofu drain for about 10 minutes. When short on time you can skip the pressing process, but I really prefer the firmer texture and taste you get as a result.
Tofu Cauliflower Rice
1/4 cup Gluten Free Tamari
1 tablespoon Lemon
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
1 1/2 teaspoon Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Arrowroot
1 15 oz block Organic Extra-Firm Tofu
1 packet of Cauliflower Rice, or 1 Cauliflower, riced
2 teaspoons Toasted Sesame Oil
1 medium Red Onion
1 cup chopped Cabbage
2 large Carrots
1-2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon Tamari
Cut the tofu in fourths length wise.
Preheat oven to 375’F.
Whisk together the tofu marinade and toss with the tofu. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Heat toasted sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add in the red onion and allow to brown, about 2 minutes. Add one teaspoon of Tamari, stir, and add carrots and cabbage. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes, until slightly soft, and add in the cauliflower and 1-2 tablespoons of Tamari (to taste.) Cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.